Caspar Babypants

Weird Al Yankovic said it best: “caspar babypants is one of the few children’s recording artists I can listen to without wanting to stab myself in the eyes.”

The kids dressed up for the Halloween weekend (Boy was a Jawa and Girl was Princess Leia courtesy of Mom’s sewing) and we all went to the benefit concert that included Caspar Babypants.  For those of you not in the know, Caspar Babypants is Chris Ballew of Presidents of the United States of America fame.  He was fantastic!  He played a hollow body Harmony with two gold lame foil pick ups.  Very vintage and retro sound.  I believe he had it strung in his usual 3 string way.  At least, I think it was three strings.  It certainly wasn’t 6.

He played a quick set and really got the kids into it…and the parents too.  Both my kids were dancing.  It was very fun.  If he ever is in your area, I recommend you go see him!

Wood

I spent an hour at the local hardware store getting wood for my guitar cabinet project.  Nothing fancy or expensive.  I got a 1 x 12 x 6 ft pine board that was straight and well cut, a 1/2 x 2 ft x 4ft birch plywood board, and two 3/4 x 3/4 x 36 inch hardwood squares.  I think that is all I need for this project.  It should end up as a 16 inch by 16 inch by 12 inch speaker cabinet when all is said and done.

Next week I hope to be cutting the wood at a friend’s workshop (including the dove tail corners).  Then it is sanding and more sanding before staining and sealing.  Pics to come, but not for a while.

Was it loud?

I finally finished It Might Get Loud.  I enjoyed it immensely.   There were some great stories and some great historical perspectives and some great guitars.  Not a lot of guitar playing.  The deleted scenes were actually better for that.  But I watched both, so I’m ok.

It does make me laugh at my little blog.  These are people who have reached a level of success that I don’t think I’ll even achieve in my professional life.  However, I don’t consider myself a failure.  I enjoy what I do.  I enjoy my dabbling in guitars.  I enjoy my family.  I enjoy the things that make up my life.

Anyone? Anyone?

Bueller?  Bueller?

I made up a little chord progression today that went B minor, F sharp, A, G and then B minor, F sharp, A, C7.  It sounded really familiar.  Not knowing any real music theory, I have to ask:  What songs use the same or similar chord progression?

Obviously the strum pattern has a big impact, but I’m more curious about what songs use the chord progression because I tried it with a bunch of different strum patterns and playing dynamics. This post is probably a little on the impractical side, but I thought I’d ask.

Oh, and the other one that sounded familiar was D, B minor, A, F sharp, G, and then D, B minor, A, G.  Any ideas?

I like to play

Today I rode my bike to work in the rain.  My feet got so wet that when I walked around my office in my socks, I left wet foot prints that took almost three hours to dry.  It was a great ride at a warm 45 degrees Fahrenheit and the rest of me was dry in my rain gear.

At lunch I was distracted and not interested in being in the office, but I still had half the day ahead of me.  So I pulled my guitar off the wall and played the Day Tripper riff by the Beatles.  It just came out.  I hadn’t been thinking of it at all.  I just hit the low E string and the rest of it came out.  It felt natural.  It felt good.  It felt like I had just made music.

Then I played the In My Life riff, which oddly led into Tender Heart by Alejandro Escovedo.  I played a few blues riffs.  Then I started playing something that went off a D7, A7, E7, F chord progression with a little pinky thing thrown in before each chord change.  Once again it felt natural.  It felt good.  It felt like I had just made music.

So I put my guitar back on my office wall.  Opened the door.  And happily went back to work.  Content with my day and ready to ride home in four hours.

Proper Way to Restring

I have slowly been switching my guitars over to locking tuners.  This makes tuning very easy and very quick, but the locking tuners are heavy and more expensive than the tuners that usually come on your guitar (which, once you have the guitar, they’re free!).  My Epiphone Crestwood does not have locking tuners and I don’t intend to put locking tuners on it.  Right now everything is original on that guitar.  I’m not ready to start modding it.  So properly restringing this guitar is important if I want it to stay in tune.

Elixir strings have provided the following video clip to help.

Restringing your guitar can also wake up your guitar.  I don’t have any scientific proof, but it is widely discussed on the internet and just generally among guitarists that old strings wear out and lose some of their high end.  Sweat and dirt and grime build up.  They start to corrode.  My guess is that all of this dampens their ability to vibrate and get the fresh sound and tone anyone wants from their guitar.  Some people change their strings every performance.  Others never change them.  Most people are somewhere in the middle depending on how much money they have and how much effort they put into changing their strings.

I change my strings fairly infrequently.  I hardly ever break a string.  I store the bulk of my guitars out in the open.  My hands do get dirty and my strings do corrode.  But I am cheap when it comes to guitar strings.  I try to change them every few months.  I buy a bunch every time they go on sale at my local guitar shop.  But I don’t get a specific brand.  I just stick with 10’s.  I like the feel of 10’s over 9’s.  I feel like I have to work a bit and get a better sound when I use 10’s.  9’s just seem week (and need to be changed even more often).

Does this make me a bad person?  Does it really matter?  Probably not.  It is just one of those nights when I ramble.  Goodnight.

Alejandro does it again

Caught the latest episode of Austin City Limits with Alejandro Escovedo.  My favorite song this time was Tender Heart.  Thanks to the ol’ dvr I was able to listen to that song a bunch of times and figure it out on the guitar.  The chords are F# A B for the verses and I think the chords to the chorus are D B A G# G F# A B, A G# G F# A B.

These aren’t as good a recordings as ACL, but here you go!

Half way

Got halfway through It Might Get Loud while my wife was out with friends. I’m loving it.  She got home, saw a cool section, and said, “I need to see this, don’t I?”  I answered that she did.  “Do you mind starting it over?” she asked.  Of course not.

So I haven’t finished yet, but am starting it again.  I am still enjoying it!

Testing…Testing

I took my new to me, used speaker to my local guitar shop tonight to see if they could test it.  I probably could’ve looked this up on the internet, but it was pretty easy.  The guy hooked up a 9 volt battery to the positive and negative prongs on the speaker and it moved.  “Yup, it works.”  was all he said.

Thank you!  Now I can do this on my own if I ever buy any more speakers.